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Tips to stay safe when shopping online

Man shopping on phone.

Many of us go online to look for deals or that perfect holiday gift. But online shopping can be risky.

“Whether shopping online or browsing social media sites, people can put their personal information at risk to criminals,” said Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris.

Without proper online safety, thieves can potentially steal personal information. Below are some safety tips to help protect against these attacks:

  • Protect personal information. Refrain from revealing too much personal information online. Birthdates, addresses, age, and financial information, such as bank accounts and Social Security Numbers, are among things that should not be shared freely.
  • Use strong passwords. Consider using a password manager to store passwords.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Use this for extra security for online accounts.
  • Update computer and phone software. Enable automatic updates to install critical security updates.
  • Use security software. Security software such as an anti-virus or firewall provide added protection.
  • Use a VPN. Criminals can intercept personal information on insecure public Wi-Fi networks. Individuals are encouraged to always use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
  • Be Cautious with Email Deals. Email marketing is still one of the main avenues businesses use to promote deals and products — it’s also one of the main avenues threat actors use to hack into your system.
  • Use a Credit Instead of a Debit Card when Possible. Credit cards offer an extra layer of protection when you’re shopping online. Unlike debit cards that are directly linked to your bank account, credit cards usually offer greater protection in case your account is compromised.


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